e-Waste Industry Waste Management Plan in the pipeline

Submitted by: Nadia Shah, Wednesday, March 16, 2016

e-Waste is now considered a priority waste in South Africa and will soon be regulated (Image source:<a href='http://www.123rf.com/profile_pnphoto'>pnphoto / 123RF Stock Photo</a>)

South Africa is one step closer to having a nationally coordinated, regulatory framework in place for the e-waste industry, this is according to Keith Anderson, chairman of the e-Waste Association of South Africa (EWASA). EWASA identified a need for an Industry Waste Management Plan (IWMP) upon its formation in 2008. Since then the development of an IWMP has been a key focus of the organisation, “Our main challenge was that the National Environmental Waste Act 59 of 2008 only made provision for IWMPs to be developed for waste streams which are defined as ‘priority waste’ by the Act. In 2014, the Minister declared e-waste as a priority waste which provided the legislative framework in which to develop an IWMP,” explained Anderson. Following extensive stakeholder consultation in 2014, a draft e-waste IWMP was submitted to the Minister for approval in 2015. Anderson hopes that the IWMP will be ratified during the second quarter of 2016.

Purpose of the e-waste IWMP

Anderson explained that the IWMP sets boundaries, standards and regulations in an effort to improve governance and compliance within the sector. These regulations will effectively curtail the improper disposal of e-waste which is anticipated to result in growth for the e-waste sector. “The e-waste sector is currently under-resourced, the IWMP is expected to result in significant job creation as there will be a demand for more drop off centres, dismantlers, and recyclers,” said Anderson.

Contents of the e-waste IWMP

The IWMP outlines the roles and responsibilities of the entity which will be in charge of implementation, at this stage it is unclear if EWASA will be assigned this role. In addition, the IWMP defines opportunities for job creation, references elements of the legal framework that will be promulgated to support the IWMP, maps a flowchart of reverse logistics and makes provision for a green levy to incentivise recyclers.

How will the IWMP affect businesses and private users?

Anderson explains that the draft IWMP requires businesses and private users to dispose of their waste at certified collection points, and that it will soon be illegal to dispose of e-waste through the municipal garbage collection system. Anderson emphasised the importance of businesses and private users taking responsibility for their e-waste, “Being aware of the negative environmental impacts of incorrect disposal should provide enough motive to correctly dispose of e-waste and the public should not wait for the regulations to be passed to do the right thing.” The e-waste IWMP is expected to be in teh second quarter of 2016.

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